Konch Magazine - Excerpt from The Wailing Wall by Allison HedgeCoke
— He’s gone now.  
     This is the way we maneuver. 
Examining Purpose 
  Quickly clean up; wake littles. Gather some grub. Pack feedsacks. Head down the sunrise highway for my 
preliminary interview. My hope, a chance to start over here, build something, take time to consider 
fascinations, forget winged heart, buried love, Judgment. Forget ridicule, injury, The Conflict—move 
along—away from what has held us. Recruitment called me; ‘m in. 
     The hillsides here hold us firmly in their splendor. Cedar, juniper, pine, alabaster, sandstone, pumice, 
pinks intertwined in greens, speckling fullness like bits of verdure saturated over richly sculptured clay. We 
here, in a land unfamiliar. Haven’t been through this place since my teens, when my crea-sibling lived in 
Jobber Town an hour away. Worked in the presses there. Lead type. We used to come this way for fare 
when I’d visit her. Never lived this part of the world myself. Never homed it. 
     Soon, we make the pass to Little Fay, round the egress, take into account all that has been, all ahead; 
drop a gic for a good measure, pull into Purpose Industrial Complex. The setting is flats on a shared site. 
One side Jesup, one Dead President. Peeps get the Dead Pres, of course. Of course! Originally a result of 
JFK’s effort, in 1962, as spoken to the litany of Affiliateds, post-Chi Town Peeps meeting (the Exec. 
Grizzly Guard prevented Jack from attending), as motion toward the good deal of unfinished business, and 
after hearing the N8V Declaration of Purpose read by a Okra Tree Peeps, signed the Exec. Order to enlist 
N8V trainees in Industrial Age>Information Age (Tech). To be housed where Roosevelt signed Exec. 
Order to intern Japanese in Little Fay. After all, Truman had signed Exec. Order to integrate training in 
1944, so nothing in the way of integrating Purpose as a Grizzly Programmed Institution. Rumor has it that 
beneath it all we'll be interned as well for any noncompliance at this juncture. Rumor flies. 
      The Jesups have some interesting buildings. A grand chamber, reading library, bookstore, passage halls, 
base stations, operations base, modules, stations, division bases, tunnels (closed off), additional chambers 
(some private). Their offices are around by the postal center, ours down by the caliche’ draw. Admissions, 
Processing, a few pre-fab buildings down from bricked Administration, the whole row of structures looking 
very Grizzly, looks like Cross-Hair Grizzlies could’ve been here, designed it. Maybe so. 
     It’s been a long ride. The littles all wait outside the door. Quiet, not looking at anyone. Think ‘ve 
rubbed off on them a bit too much. No one should be m,e. Too displeasing, in a clumsy, reclusive, 
tabooed way. Still, with my hair covering up half my face, go inside, get through the interview only voicing 
maybe twenty words. The Pallid guy does all the talking: how happy they are ‘m here, what a good place 
this is to go onward, what magnificent things can be gained by landing here now, when to return here to 
begin Purpose training. All one needs to know. 
     He says. 
     M,e, ‘ve been recruited here, like many fresh bereaved from The Conflict. The walls inside, 
institutional drab green Grizz. Everyone appears to enjoy jobs. Everyone working at an individual station. 
Posters of Peeps here and there, and on each metal desk an exact spread of catalogues featuring alumni 
trainees and some colorful, feathery motion. The walls flush with framed works of trainees past. Above the 
main man’s oak desk, surmounted by kerosene lantern, stabs a spindle spinning parchments of trainees 
hard at work in various disciplines etched upon copper plates. On his hand, finely crafted trainee rings 
above a finely tooled bracelet. The silver stands along his pallid wrist, like a white clay banked stream in 
midday sun. He points to a poster of the National Trainee Archive, where all the best trainee samples are 
held. The materials all furnished, so rights stay with Admin and Grizz. Purpose owned. No doubt. Keep 
that under your Dept. of Insecurity.      He sends m,e out the door reminding m,e it is easy enough to get started. Say it’s no problem ‘m a 
starter: “We have quite a few starting components here,” to satisfy my concern. He says they want m,e 
back in two weeks for Orienting to Tool Pusher or Die-Cast work, or Coding, Propaganda Composition, 
Structural Construction, or Industrial Age>Information Age (Tech). My starter was die-cast in her 
bereavement. War-of-War endings. Maybe they’ll have m,e.  
      The first UD building spidered around us with Crack calling from every split end. Mares blackened-
eyed, stud-cut. Studs bandana-wrapped over eye, half-down the nose. Littles the same in miniature. 
Unknown, unwelcoming. No familia feeling. Just rough. Graffiti walls, broken everything, concertina wire 
     Not here. 
     The second one, the same, but more littles, more fems, less chaps, no wire wrappings, across Seraph 
St. Mike’s Street from Purpose, walking distance; it will have to work.  
     Inside, we have an efficiency kitchen sharing space with a seating area, separated from a sleeping space 
by a half-wall centered behind the couch with walkthroughs on either end—all one room, really, just split 
into sections and alcoves. The next space is a short hall with a bathroom on one side and linen closet on 
the other. All the walls are plain sheetrock, painted white. On the front side is a porch. We’re up on the 
second. The building is supposed to look like a Clay’s place but it’s all stucco on chicken wire. There are a 
few of these buildings in staggered rows. Other Trainees mixed in with dealers, spikes, and plain workers. 
It’s close to what we can afford, if all goes well with Trainee Duty Detail, and appears to be in good order, 
except for the AC. 
     Our assigned unit is missing an air conditioner, in its place just the 1.5’ x 2’ hole it left behind. The first 
nights, late in the should-be-slumber, mares would come and passionately call through the opening, “Monte, I know you’re in there. Please come out. I know you’re there. Just come out, please.” After some 
time they’d beg. 
     So Monte, who must’ve been a hell of a stud, inspires my coding in the linen closet, 4’ x 5.5’ including 
shelving, where one could stretch out on the foam mat from the So-10 camper, set up my manual 
typewriter on the bottom shelf, pretend to have a coding base, while the littles dream away in the bed 
behind a half-wall in the pretend bedroom of the studio living unit, we would now hang our 
steelcapbrushes in at night. 
     The closet door is closed from at least midnight until six in the morning.  
     The mattress is four inches thick. 
     Nobody really needs more than this in the world; unless maybe they’re taller. 
     No need to be wasteful.  
     Note: Pampas coders say waste, is only de-emphasized waste’. Howa. 
     Everything in life is doublesided. 
     Here, we have a fine cave to crawl into at night. 
Remember: rain wet fresh slide water nourishing every thirst with pummel strike slip abundance, light 
diffused, softened, muddled in bands streaming across shadows night day light screen fog mist air earth 
green canopy over bluest ridge imaginable, folding into ridge upon ridge upon ridge upon ridge; rain is 
falling from our baskets all around, rain falling rain falling rain falling— 
EchoDreaming: Upside the head jab, rabbit punches, jab jab jab jabjabjab, jab in the face, jab. Some 
fem voice calling m,e to come outside. Talking out loud in sleep. Yelling— 
 Waking at 3 pre-dawn, soaking. “No, it’s nothing, Littles. Go back to sleep. Must be a neighbor’s tv.” 
EchoWrinkle: River’s coming. 
Remember rain— 
 Morning brings m,e an option to entry placement test individually for Purpose. After getting my littles on 
the Obligatory Transit, option a Trainee Duty call, draw Transit Service C. Once all Trainees listed are 
delivered to Division Base Modules, head over to the prefab row of annexed offices.  
     Inside the Skill Center, draw a number, Wait on one of the four gray metal chairs near the entry. Staff 
are scurrying around from one cubicle to the next. They’ve got their paws on some bannock and salmon 
and enjoying the indelible savor. One offers m,e a bit taste of each. Ah, melody in my ears each bite, so 
wipe a bit of grease on my lips and behind my lobes when no one’s looking. My starter would love this. 
     After a while, hear her coming through the rows, Whale Woman, swaylike, almost lumbering, but 
gentler. Surmise each cubicle could be a wave, and make attention to every notion derived from the idea. 
Then bring focus to receive her sincere face. 
     The Whale Woman is so kind. Her eyes tell m,e there is nothing outside of us. They hold m,e in a 
peaceful way.  
      “Take this pencil into a cubicle to test.” She says. 
     Who are your Peeps? She asks m,e with her thought. 
     “Miss the rain on the leafed pines,” speaking quietly aloud, giving concentration to each word spouted. 
Near yawn, rolling the drums in my ears to give her some sense of know in thought. 
     “When rain comes here, the gulches fill to brim, flood sometimes.” She smiles from her mouth’s wide 
corners, Whale-like opening. Baleen exposed, she slips back into her watery world. 
      Here, alone, the lack of familiarity with testing suddenly doesn’t torture m,e. Quickly press through the 
forms, double check answers, head out, while Whale Woman smiles over my leaving, tells m,e to call her 
on Monday for my scores. Agreed. Thank her for allowing m,e some dignity. She tells m,e not everyone 
does well in groups.  
     “Some people need alone time to concentrate.” 
      We spend the rest of the day signing up my progenies for Programmed Obligation. They’ll have a bus 
to pick them up mornings and afternoons, just in front of our unit. Free meals, morning and noon. Day is 
good, but for my night sessions, they’ll have to come along, unless there’s a tender somewhere to trade off 
    We shop the locals for the first time. There is one Chug near the door, but in his own world, none of 
The Judgment coming from alleyways. Though it does occur to m,e, we could come late nights, after 
everyone has cleared out even so; have the market to ourselves. Today we load up with grub, vouchered 
elementary supplies, Head back to the studio unit. Our first meal is hearty. We’re all excited to begin 
again, so celebrating. Local fare, so fresh and delicious, spicy and sweet: mole´ with jitomate’. We’ve done 
this before, other places, here and there. Something different each move. Have something special, 
indulgence. Hope we can blend, go invisible, Get through. Here, we’ve reason. Refugee. Conflict Refugee. 
    After dinner, my progenies play tapes and draw until they’re sleepy, tuck each other in. Sure miss the 
dog, cats we left back north, makes it lonely without their nudging. Hope we can get some place to bring 
them to, eventually. 
     Home here in the closet, time for m,e to bed down, too.  
     Outside night is screaming banshees, “Puta! Muthafucca Pimp! Puta. Puta. Puta! I’ll kill you if you look 
at me. Don’ you look thiz way!” 
     Like Marvel Comics. Like Tree Peeps Piney Place back in the BANG Bang City crazy overthrow raids 
days. Like days gone by and best left behind. Like nothing any of us ever wanted our own littles in. Still, in 
The Conflict, everyone knows there is only a split second between here/there. Everyone knows you don’t 
go down the street without eyes averted and on quick ways out. Everyone knows you got to bunker down. 
     Come morning, shots whiz by again while checking postage. Got to get the progenies safely onto the 
bus so can begin duties. Got to pick up trainees at the old barracks and bring them back. ‘ve received the 
plans and must follow. First thing’s White Crane Jabs, though. Pep Ed. Got a Lead thinks he’s in War-of-My-Childhood yet. Same Peeps; different community. Good thing he’s not full-ours. He’s out of his mind. 
Brings us pictures of chaps pulling hearts from bulls at 7 dawntime. Says, “Bush Crow, down on your 
knuckles. Give me twenty-five. Raise an arm behind your back. Give me five more. You’ll never make it in 
the Jar-Heads like this!” 
     “Hey, we’re not in the Jar-Heads. This is Academy Pep Ed, Industrial Age>Information Age (Tech), 
not Put-Them-on-The-Kill-Line-Cross-Hair Target Training.” 
     Or is it? 
      On so the day winds, many to follow. 
     Trainee Service Transit C detail fills the morning, lots of driving trainees back and forth between old 
barracks and Dead Pres Barracks. St. Mike’s the crossroads in a neverending crossing.  Finally, it’s time to 
hunker down. Get some grub. 
     The Purpose lunchroom looks like an officer’s club. All Pallid on one side, all Peeps on the other. 
Invisible wall erected to narrow the order. Don’t look at anyone. Don’t fit into crowds. Ever. Never say the 
right thing. Never know how. Go invisible now, otherwise the pressure of so many people will make m,e 
creep inside. Turn face into hair. Turn in knees. Fold in. Mothing. Crow-moth. Like disappearing in night 
when the BUGGERS visited starter. 
     Here walls are lined with partitions. Each section portioned off into shelving. The trays lined up in 
carriers, as expected. Plastic cups, plastic plates, plastic, plastic, plastic, then metal ware. ‘ve managed to get 
through this far without incident. Can’t wait to eat. If the spicy scents pouring through the intended AC 
hole in the evening, or bits of flavor from Whale Woman’s quarters are any evidence of what to expect 
here, this should be great. 
     Salmon! The best. We are in business here. Could easily live on salmon. My starter ’s favorite food. 
What else would a Bear Woman need? They load up a bit onto my offered tray. Looks like there’s no getting around having to speak, if there’s a way to more of this. Surely it’s due me, starter’s got that round 
nail evidence. May be ‘m a mare, but ‘m her daughter. All blended. No need to tell them. Just ask. 
     “A second piece?” All smiles. 
     “Only one entrée.” 
     “Can come back for another?” 
     “Only one entrée.” 
     “Yes, only have one on my tray. Can come back through line after this one’s eaten?” 
     “Only one entrée.” 
     Someone Northern Pampas about six-and-a-half feet tall leans over and winter elk-voiced informs m,e, 
“An entrée is a main dish, a meat. We only get one.” 
     Turn my head into my hair, nod. Move along, on up the line. 
     Should have known that. Have read that word. Just never heard it aloud. Don’t know anything. Surely, 
this does it. ‘m sure they’ll get rid of m,e now. Put me under, or out. What craziness thinking of trying to 
enter Purpose. Guess I’ll hang in until they notice. If they haven’t already marked m,e for Centering; 
     Where’s the bannock?  
     While ‘m grubbing, some Stone Mountain Trainee suddenly stabs a Clay with a fork. Buzzers resound 
and the place commences crazy. Slip under the table and gobble, slip maybe two-thirds into my pockets 
for littles to have. Craz’s nothing to m,e. Not where we’ve been. Mind myself under cover while SWOTE 
enter, geared up and efficient. Carry her off without any attention to her beauty: her long mane, glaring 
eyes, snapping teeth, perfect front—  It’s on and they’re out. The Clay begins spinning propaganda soon as 
they’re done. She’s so cool the fork lets out her juice like sauce. Unnerving. She’s definitely a made one. 
Apple through.      Wipe a bit of salmon juice across my face for protection, invisibility; slide out and back. Forget the 
situation and get back to work. The afternoon’s filled with start-up sessions. Trainee duties, too. After, 
head back over Seraph Street to UD. On the way over, an Okra walks right up, says there’s been “at least 
fifteen rapes so far this year.” She says, “No one asks us anything. No one tells us it is happening. We find 
out only through each other and rumor. Stone Mountain was sold-out by a WashOutTrainee. Clay was 
involved in the telling. They’re covering for some masked ones. Lock your unit at night.”      
     My mind slips to recall-echo, times whereas The Conflict escalated to being thrown against the ground— 
      ‘m off-Complex, still may need some bear grease for invisibility here, m,e thinks. 
 Chambers call. All trainees report to Main Chamber. Wear dress trads. 
     A dignitary is here. We must sound off Affiliations. Make nice. Show ourselves competent. Make the 
Grizzlies look good.  
     They take one WashOut Bay onto stage, have her sing a Real. This is wrong. Real is not for Grizz. 
     Some Lamb Peep laughs out loud and is escorted out while the dignitaries are misled to the side. 
     We’re ordered to sound off Affiliations, Divisions, and Training Crews. Hoove their paws. Once they 
leave, we are released back to duties as assigned. ‘m in individual sessions, conferences with leads. Called 
upon to speak. Cannot look up. Too intense. Called upon again. Get straight, sound off the piece for 
Coder. He says it is coding. Lead approved.                 
     Begin to apologize, but, remain silent. 
     Coder says, “This is serious coding. Well done.” 
     Realize this may be the only time anyone’s going to let m,e enter the world of sanctioned worth. Need 
this to get to the better place ahead. Need to hear Lead’s words. Need to listen. Need to let go of the 
notion of it and sink into encoded emblematic sway.      He speaks a while, detailing what he likes to see in codes. Take mental notes of everything. He thanks 
m,e for coming in, asks m,e if he can help with anything else. 
     Look at him, assessing his nature, position: “How does one get your position?”  
     He laughs. 
        The nights become somewhat fluid. If there’s session, it is coding workshop. If not, it is time with my 
progenies. Tales, daily debrief, planning. Progenies fall out. Stay up encoding in the closet until nods take 
m,e over. Sleep crawls up my legs and ‘m out, too. 
  EchoWrinkle: smack hard in the jaw. Breaking. 
     Mornings, it’s progenies on bus, drive Trainees, White Crane Jabs, 7:00 dawn. 
     This Pep Ed Lead always wacky, one morn says, 
     “Hit me.” 
     No way you are crazy. 
     “Don’t want to.” 
     I said hit me.” 
     Uh Uh. 
     “Really do not want to.” 
     “Hit me.” 
     Got to distract this. 
     “Ask someone else. Maybe a stud.” 
     “No, you hit me, or you’re giving me fifty, one-armed, on the nose.” 
     “You won’t be able to. I’ll block you. I will block anything you throw. Do it or you’ll be on the floor.” 
     “Is that an order?” 
     “It’s an order.” 
     Twist fist into solar plexus. Solid. Capture breath. Release. Send breath into self. Relax. 
     Pep Ed coils. Chokes. Bends down. Comes back up red-cheeked mad.   
     Hold. Wait for directive. That’s the direction in this course. Wait for directive unless given freedom to 
     He slaps m,e solid on my cheek. Pleases himself. No technique. No White Crane anything. Just slaps 
     Companions here go rigid. Especially the studs.  
     Shake my head at them. Gesture, chinwise, at the clock. It’s time out. 
     Outside, Co-Trainees Lamb and Mesa put their arms around me. They don’t know ‘ve had so much 
worse, the slap itself is incidental. The abuse of power is definitely issue. They swear allegiance, swear 
vengeance, retribution—Upstandings, for sure. Current best. 
     “Let it go, we’ve only a term with him and he’ll be the best of us if we respond.” {} offer. 
     They swear they’ll settle it. In time. Must be done. 
     Fear for them. 
     Make trail to reporting. Stead of Craz, it’s m,e down in the under again. Chamber where they wailed. 
Undisclosed ‘cept to manage. They let me out by time go get little’s picked up, so that’s that. ‘d tell more, 
but that’s that. Hope Coder doesn’t hear. 
     For weeks we follow leads. Lead ourselves as well. This pattern grows into an assembly of base unit, 
skill workshop, base unit. We round the term with works we fashion in multiple approaches, multiple 
forms. Each fascination a branch off a larger consciousness. We’re embedded in the dream, reeling it. Here we make ourselves over, again and again. Fashion ourselves through each gifting dreamed. Coding, 
propaganda, structure, camo, metalwork’s, kiln—each bearing a step from the last, each unwinding. Inside, 
we dream far past this place, into the day, beyond night, beyond Conflict--WashOUT. Here, we become a 
new measure of ourselves. Here we maneuver, muster. 
Everything seems somewhat smooth, at least to m,e at this time, until one day giant Slap Chap Pep 
Ed Lead follows m,e into Structure. Swings a chain at m,e, says, “I know what to do with Trainees like 
you.” We all freeze and give him the coldness. No one says a word. We turn away. 
     Instead my new friends tell m,e they’ll beat him up for sure. There are three in here also in Pep Ed. 
They appear serious. Look fairly certain. Stand assuredly, hands firm at sides, shoulders erect, backs tall. 
     Pep Ed Lead’s out of his mind, m,e thinks. 
     Grizzly-hearted. Must be. Deep grizzly. My starter hates grizzlies. My filament says they’re mostly 
vegetarian and only partial omnivore, just testy. Filament tolerates most everything, even Starter’s 
BUGGER battles. Says bears are our eighth kin, says some of us marry bears, then reminds us of Starter’s 
round toenails. He says, we only fear what we cannot bear. Still my starter hates Grizzlies. Grizzlies puppet 
all, she says. Best to kill them. If they don’t kill you first. They got slash. They’ll use it. Rip you limbs 
akimbo, spread you out to four directions, territorial warnings. You let that happen, everyone else will be 
taken under. WashOut about to happen. Grizzlies just another tyrant. My filament says, only the ones that 
work for Covert US of Grizzly. The rest are okeh, if you leave them alone. Just leave them. 
     Thinking Grizzlies now. Thinking Pep Lead’s definitely Grizzly. BUGGER Bear. 
     Wrong bear for a Real We Are. How can he be Real? Twisted? Must have crossed something 
somewhere. Took on something else. Real We Are are not Grizzly. Maybe Black Bear. Not even our 
eighth, no. No grizzly around. Wonder where he snagged that heart, devoured it, made it his own. Maybe 
he snagged a Glacier Partner back in his day. Took that certain flesh—became. Maybe. 
      Get called into Admin. New friends penned notes to Grizzly Pep, tell him no, no, no. Least them give 
him what for. ‘m told to name who wrote what. Feign don’t know, but now know for sure they’re allies. I’ll 
never give them up.  
     Grizzly Pep, wants to pressure, but must caution now. Least, so it appears. Admin is Head Grizzly, so 
likely cahoots, m,e thinks. Admin. Says, “We’re watching you.” 
     Go back to my closet, make gifts, pound bread in the unit efficiency. Feed progenies, save some for 
allies. Make even. Make noodles and cheese, cheese and noodles. 
     A week later, ‘m pulling into the main compound gravel. There’s a few Trainees to the left, over off 
across the ditch, running toward the truck this direction. We see them when we open up the doors. Take a 
gander. My progenies hop out, when we pull up, run in to see who is playing cutthroat in the Dead Pres 
halls. They like playing pool with the Mescalis best. Sometimes they claim they hear voices under dead 
racks. There is tunnels. 
     The Progenies to the side are running along until one seems to flip in a complete flip up and off the 
ground like she was clothes-lined. There’s no line there, so it’s strange enough to take note. The other two 
stop, look at her, look at m,e, head off another direction. One of them leaving is Structure Jealous. Weird. 
     ‘m thinking the one they left down is hurt, so go over. She’s on the ground and crying pretty loud 
already; holding her leg and screaming. The bone protrudes into compound. Go for help. Call the 
progenies, send them for aid and assistance. Some of the other Trainees come. We load her into my 
truck. Take her to Clinic. It’s bad. She has to stay. We take turns staying with her, over the days; getting 
her units to her until she can go back to barracks.  
     Everyone we know by now befriends her in the way and make sure she is all taken care of until she can 
return to Purpose. 
     Some of us Get Real for her. Sing until dawning.      Grizz Admin hears about this. Announces a sanctioned Get Real to be held on Complex with 
Distinguished Real Guests. Cautions Trainees from Getting Real in their own ways. Says, “The Purpose 
Industrial Age>Informational Age Complex (Purpose Industrial Complex) will provide the Real Real. No 
Trainee is allowed to Get Real without proper purpose designation. Any Trainee in Real without 
Authorized Real, will suffer full penalty as outlined in the Trainee Handbook. If you did not save your 
Trainee Handbook given during Orientation, one will be provided for you at Admin. Do not Get Real 
without Purpose Authorization. Do not do it.”  
     We know they are all laodicean. The lot of them. Anyone they bring in will be suspect to the Real here 
now. So, we Sing only when they are not around. Tap to ourselves. Bone up on the Grizz regulations in 
the Handbook. “No Trainee is allowed to Get Real without proper Purpose designation—“ 
     Cry, what have we here? 
     Last thing {} hear, "To the Bottom with you." 
     For the next six hours all {} remember is the slamming of steel, cold, darkness, in a chamber meant to 
     They can't have m,e. They can't have m,e. They Can't have m,e.  
     {} can’t say. 
In this way we maneuver. In this way.